Hi guys, I am a life time Emet, and am still working on being rid of it - so by no means am I telling you this will cure you, but my god it helped me through a really difficult patch. The next paragraph has triggers so skip if you want...I've only included to explain the kind of event this treatment may help with.
I got food poisoning almost 2 years ago, and it put me back with my emet sooo so far. I had convinced myself being sick wasn't as bad as I remembered and I was sure next time it happened I would see how silly I was to be so scared. This poisoning was a very bad case, and I was ill for hours on end all through the night, repeatedly being sick. It was a nightmare and I was in such a bad mental state I was begging my bf to call his shadiest friend and get me drugs that would knock me out so I didn't have to deal with it anymore! It was so much worse than I ever imagined and it triggered a huge problem for me. I suddenly had anxiety every evening (I've never suffered from it before), was struggling to eat, having panic and nausea attacks most evenings and nights. I was a mess and was in tears every day, in terror. I begged my doctor for help and was given lots of anti-sickness pills while waiting for help. I also got started on sertraline (an anti-anxiety pill) which I think helped, even if it was just the placebo effect.
Finally I was given my first CBT appt, and even in that first appt, she picked out clues that actually I was suffering from PTSD from that food poisoning episode that needed sorting first. The main clues to her was that whenever I was feeling anxious or having a panic, my brain would flash the memories of that night into my mind, I had no control and would actively try to push the thoughts away but my brain would force me to see it. They were intrusive and destructive images. Even once I had gotten through a panic and was on the calm down, these images would intrude and try to make me panic again.
She decided to not use our 13 weeks for CBT but for EMDR - eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing, which uses the rapid eye movement (REM) processes your brain already uses to process emotions and memories. This is usually used for PTSD sufferers affected by war, violence or emotional damage, and more recently has been picked up for emet sufferers. A traumatic event isn't processed by your brain properly and so ends up triggering everytime a similar situation occurs again. EDMR tries to get your brain to process and get over the event, to stop it being replayed and relived. If you google "EMDR - cognitive behavioural therapy" and go on the top website, it describes it better (I don't have enough posts yet to be allowed to post links).
It sounds very odd to describe, but bear with me. She got me to think of a safe place and have that ready in my mind throughout. Each session she would have me close my eyes and mentally take myself back to that night when it all happened. I had to mentally relive it, feelings, panic and all. Once I was there I opened my eyes and while still focusing on that night and how I felt, she held up 2 fingers and moved them side to side quite quickly and had me follow them with my eyes. This was getting my brain to use REM to process the event, to start storing it away like a normal memory. There were also times she had me see it as if I were watching myself go through that night, distancing myself from it.
Over and over we did this. Sometimes she would get me to think of my safe place, and instead moved her fingers diagonally. This bit was to replace the negative trauma feelings with the safe ones, trying to overwrite it.
We did this for the entire 13 weeks. Just having support and someone that understood and was trying to make it better, did help a lot straight away. By the end of the 13 weeks I was not having the evening panic attacks, I stopped feeling nauseous and was eating almost back to normal. I can think back to that fateful night, and although I feel sad and do not want to go through it again, it doesn't give me that pang of instant panic. The flashes don't haunt me, even when I am having a emet moment and panicking, there are no flashes of that night adding to the pile of mental pain that I'm already struggling with. I am back to where I was before that awful night, and although I still have work to do I am so pleased I am free of the trauma of that night.
So, I still have issues with feeling sick, and I get panic attacks when i do feel sick. I am not cured, I still need help to get over it. BUT, if anyone is going through a particular bad time because of an event, maybe look into this treatment and ask if any of the CBT therapists in your area use it.
I am now looking into meditation and other ways to get through the panic attacks when I'm feeling sick - so if anyone has any advice in that area I would be very grateful. I will post a thread asking more specifically about it soon.
Best wishes guys, we are not alone.